Samsung Galaxy Nexus could lure Verizon customers from iPhone 4S

Summary:Should Verizon customers nearing the ends of their contracts go for the iPhone 4S, or will it be worth the wait for Google's Nexus Prime?

Now that the iPhone 4S has been unveiled -- to quite mixed reviews -- it has a lot of consumers questioning whether or not they should take the plunge once the new smartphone is available starting on October 14. (FYI, it goes up for pre-order tomorrow).

Verizon Wireless customers, especially those with their contracts ending in the next few months, could have an even bigger conundrum thanks to the next Google phone on deck.

The flagship Samsung Galaxy Nexus, also known as the Nexus Prime, is said to be a Verizon exclusive when it launches (likely some time this quarter). Here's what it will have, according to Boy Genius Report:

  • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • 4.65-inch Super AMOLED HD with curved glass (1,280 x 720 resolution)
  • TI OMAP 4460 1.2GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 32GB of built-in storage
  • 5-megapixel camera on the back, 1.3-megapixel in the front
  • 1080p HD video capture support
  • LTE/HSPA depending on carrier
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n
  • NFC
  • 9mm thin
  • 1,750 mAh battery

So let's highlight some of the major differences that could make or break a purchase.

First, we'll get NFC technology out of the way. Obviously, the next Google phone is going to support Google Wallet. Great, but that still isn't supported that widely yet, and I'm convinced that not having NFC will not hurt the new iPhone. So that's a wash.

Moving on to LTE. There were a number of complaints from consumers and even analysts that the new iPhone 4S is not built for 4G. However, that makes sense in a way that because out of the three networks that will sell the iPhone 4S, only Verizon and Sprint have 4G networks, and Sprint's LTE network isn't built out yet. AT&T's LTE network is barely existent. So why even bother with that on the iPhone this year?

Yet, 4G speeds are incredible, and it's very arguable that Verizon is the leader in this arena right now. So maybe if 4G was a make or break feature for a Verizon customer, this would do it. But remember that 4G technology also sucks the life out of batteries incredibly fast, so voice and browsing times will likely be much less than the iPhone 4S if the user is always on 4G.

Then there's the display. Some consumers were upset that the iPhone 4S doesn't have a 4-inch display yet. While it might be nice if it were slightly larger, a 4.65-inch screen on a smartphone is just absurd. The 4.5-inch display on the Samsung Infuse already had me questioning whether or not smartphones are becoming mini tablets or e-readers. There was no room for the 5-inch Dell Streak in the market, so why does everyone want to keep blowing up smartphones?

On the cameras front, it's hard to judge the Nexus at this point as there are few available details beyond the 5-megapixel sensor. We already know that the rear camera on the iPhone 4S is pretty fantastic. However, that along with the voice command technology might be the only two features that the iPhone 4S really has going for it.

Finally, it looks like there's only one storage capacity option for the Nexus Prime, while the iPhone 4S has three, starting at the traditional 16GB for $199 on-contract rate. The Nexus starts with 32GB, which usually means something like $299, which is incredibly steep for a smartphone. The only other notable one at that rate is the Motorola Droid Bionic, and I didn't think it warranted the price tag.

If the 32GB Nexus was $199, or even a little over that, then that would be a steal. I'd only imagine loyal iOS fans to stick around for the iPhone 4S at that point.

Otherwise, it might just come back down to the usual Android vs. iOS battlegrounds. The Galaxy Nexus sounds like a great Android device, but until we see Ice Cream Sandwich running on it and what the price tag will be, then there's the possibility that the reception will be just as cool as it was for the latest iPhone.

UPDATE: Sure enough, the unveiling of the Galaxy Nexus/Nexus Prime has been delayed.

Related:

Topics: iPhone, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones, Verizon

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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